10-Minute Wild Blueberry Chia Jam
This easy and healthy wild blueberry chia jam is your new favorite sugar free jam recipe. It uses frozen wild blueberries (a superfood), has no added sugar, and is ready in just 10 minutes. Making jam has never been easier!
Low Sugar Blueberry Chia Jam
Everyone loves a good PB&J, am I right?! And while it’s easy to find no-sugar-added peanut butters at the grocery store these days, the same can’t be said for store-bought jams and jellies.
As a dietitian, when I think “healthy” the last thing that comes to mind is jam. Well, it was the last thing until I discovered homemade chia jam. It’s a healthy and easy alternative to store-bought jams and jellies. When YOU make it yourself, YOU control how much (if any) sugar you add. And trust me, you won’t need any (or much) for this recipe that’s sweetened entirely by fruit!
Is jam healthy?
If you’re up-to-date on my latest nutrition posts, then you know I’m a big fan of natural sugar sources. In the added sugar versus natural sugar debate, natural sugar sources triumph because they’re packed with other good-for-you-stuff, like fiber, vitamins, and minerals.
Fruit is a main source of natural sugar, so it makes sense to assume that store-bought fruit spreads are healthy options. However, this isn’t typically the case. Traditional jams and jellies can be packed with added sugar, too. For example, one tablespoon of Smucker’s Strawberry Jam has 12 grams of sugar, 9 of which are added sugar (from high fructose corn syrup). What I’m getting at is most commercial jams are more added sugar than they are fruit. And unfortunately, too much added sugar isn’t so sweet for your health.
The beauty of homemade jams is that you get to control how much added sugar goes into them! You can also get creative with how you sweeten them (like I’ve done with this wild blueberry chia jam recipe).
How to make chia jam
Making chia jam is so easy a caveman could do it! Seriously, gone are the days of spending hours at the stove to make the perfect homemade jam. All you need is 10 (maybe 15 minutes).
Instead of pectin or gelatin, this recipe relies on the gelling power of chia seeds to thicken it. Chia seeds can absorb up to 10 times their weight in liquid! Here’s how to make this easy blueberry chia jam:
- Step 1: First, you’ll want to combine your chia seeds, applesauce, and orange juice in a small bowl to let thicken while you heat the berries over the stove. I call this multi-tasking!
- Step 2: Next, heat your frozen wild blueberries in a small saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally. You’ll want to crush the berries with whatever you’re using to stir. I like to leave some whole ones for texture, but totally up to you. Heat until the berries are completely thawed and mushy (they should be bubbling), about 5 to 7 minutes.
- Step 3: Stir in the chia mixture, and continue heating for another few minutes.
- Step 4: Remove from the heat and allow to cool and thicken in the saucepan before using or jarring for later!
- That’s it!
To store your wild blueberry chia jam:
Store the jam in air-tight containers in the fridge. I like to store mine in mason jars. It’ll keep for a good week (if not a little longer).
Health Benefits of Wild Blueberries
I’m a huge fan of frozen wild blueberries. In fact, I’ve been buying them for years! My go-to have always been Wyman’s – the family-owned company in Maine that’s been in the game for over 140 years!
Did you know it takes TWO YEARS to grow a wild blueberry? Maybe that’s why they end up being so delicious and nutritious! Just one cup of frozen wild blueberries provides 25% of the recommended daily value (DV) for fiber and 200% of the DV for manganese – a trace mineral that has strong antioxidant properties and plays an important role in bone health.
What’s the difference between regular and wild blueberries?
Several studies have demonstrated that wild blueberries have up to two times the antioxidant activity of ordinary blueberries. They’re especially rich in anthocyanin, a flavonoid with potent antioxidant-like effects. Anthocyanin is what’s responsible for the wild blueberries’ deep blue color!
Plus, wild blueberries have a sweeter and more intense taste than regular blueberries.
Fresh Fruit vs Frozen Fruit
Time for a little myth buster! Fresh versus frozen fruit – which is better? As a dietitian, I get this question A LOT. Fresh produce is often picked before it’s fully ripe, giving it less time to develop a full range of nutrients. Produce to be frozen is often picked at peak ripeness and frozen within a few hours to retain nutrient content. As is the case with Wyman’s Wild Blueberries. They fresh freeze and package them within hours of being picked, which locks in the antioxidants and fresh flavors.
Studies show that frozen produce is typically as nutritious as fresh, and in some cases more. I often purchase frozen fruit because it lasts longer and is more convenient. Plus, I find that frozen fruits, especially these little frozen wild blueberries, work particularly well in chia jams.
What you’ll need to make this healthy wild blueberry chia jam
You only need these 4 ingredients to make this super simple healthy jam recipe:
- Frozen Wild Blueberries: I use Wyman’s wild blueberries. They can be found in the freezer section of most grocery stores.
- Chia Seeds: Chia seeds act as the thickener in this jam recipe. They also add additional antioxidants and fiber to this nutritious recipe!
- Applesauce: I add applesauce to help sweeten the jam without the need for added sweeteners.
- Orange Juice: I always add some citrus juice to my chia jam to help balance and accentuate the flavor. I use the juice of an orange, but you can use store bought 100% orange juice instead. If you don’t have either, you can substitute with more applesauce, but I highly recommend adding a squeeze of another citrus fruit like lemon or lime (if you have either of those on hand).
- Good news! This recipe is already paleo, dairy-free, and Whole30 friendly! Plus, it’s also vegan since it uses chia seeds instead of gelatin as a thickener.
- Berries: Feel free to use other berries or a combo of different berries in this recipe. I find that frozen works best, but feel free to try with fresh!
- 2 cups frozen wild blueberries
- 2 Tbsp chia seeds
- 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
- Juice of an orange (or about ~1/4 cup orange juice)
- Optional: 2 - 3 tsp maple syrup or honey
- Combine chia seeds, applesauce, and orange juice in a small bowl to let thicken; set aside.
- Meanwhile, heat the frozen wild blueberries in a small saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Crush the berries periodically with whatever you're using to stir (I like to leave some whole ones for texture, but totally up to you). Heat until the berries are completely thawed and mushy (they should be bubbling), about 5 to 7 minutes.
- Stir in the chia mixture, and continue cooking for another few minutes.
- Remove from the heat and allow jam to cool and thicken in the saucepan before using or jarring for later!
- Store in an air-tight container or mason jar in the fridge for up to a week.
Thanks for reading! Did you make one of my recipes? Leave a comment & let me know!
To see what other healthy and tasty recipes I’m whipping up in the kitchen, be sure to follow me on Facebook and Instagram!